Could we change the [preservation] world with kindness?
One of my weekly rituals is to spend Sunday mornings with a hot cup of coffee and “CBS Sunday Morning.” This week correspondent Steve Hartman looked at the value of writing thank you notes. A slacker himself, he found others who still believe the practice has great value.
Lawyer John Kralik wrote a thank you note a day for a year and recently published a book about the experience. He wrote one to his child’s piano teacher and to his barista for making an effort to remember his name. In turn, the barista was clearly pleased that someone recognized her effort.
“When you appreciate something, it comes again,” said Kralik. “If I was thankful for clients paying their bills, they seemed to pay faster. If I was thankful for cases, they seemed to come more.”
I confess that I used to be much better about thank you notes than I have been since my fingers went digital. I email, tweet, and blog and at night think, “oh, I should have written a note to…but where’s my address book these days and do I have any nice stationery any more?”
Maybe we should all make an effort to write more notes.
Preservationists are often in the position of asking for things — don’t knock down that building, please redesign that building to be more neighborly in the historic district, please don’t put that big box/drugstore/parking lot/skyscraper on that spot. But when we achieve what we’ve asked for, do we send thank you notes?
Walmart, a notorious foe of the preservation movement, who has only lost once (to the residents of Chestertown, MD, who successfully defeated Walmart’s efforts to build in the county), recently retracted plans to build adjacent to the boundaries of the Civil War Wilderness Battlefield in Orange County, Virginia. There was a collective sigh of relief from Civil War historians, preservationists and some local residents (I’m assuming there is a faction that want access to discount televisions and Cheetos and for whom the location doesn’t really matter). Yet how many of those celebrating will take a moment to thank the giant corporation for doing the right thing — and in so doing, perhaps encourage them to think more carefully next time they plan?
Let’s make an effort to be encouraging and to thank others (be they corporations, developers, government, demolition-focused property owners) when they are willing to compromise and look at the long-term effects of their actions.